Monday, May 17, 2010

It's Monday, What Are You Reading?


Just discovered this meme and though Monday is almost over, I think I'll jump in. Won't be able to visit until tomorrow. Which is only a couple hours off. :)

What I've been reading in the last week:

The Anthologist by Nicholson Baker. Read between Wednesday evening and Friday morning. It was due at the library on Thursday but I kept it over the weekend in hopes of completing a review but did not manage to do so and had to send it back this morning. But I discussed it a bit as I read it here and here. In that last you'd have to wade through a lot of daily trivia to get to the relevant paragraph so I'll copy it:

And no, I did not finish that book due today that I started yesterday: The Anthologist by Nicholson Baker. Almost. 60 some pages to go. I won't owe a fine if I get it in the drop box before the library opens Monday. But I didn't want to take advantage of that this time because I have three more books due on Monday!!! Plus four DVD.

Among the neglected tasks this past few weeks was getting the book reviews done for the books that I finished before the books had to go back to the library.

The Anthologist's protagonist is a writer who isn't writing. Which is rubbing it in my own face a bit hard.

Besides pushing to finish several books and movies this weekend I will also be packing for a three day out of town trip. Well saying 'out of town' is a bit misleading. It's only across the valley to the driveway of Ed's brother's place where we will be staying in their camper and Ed's folks in the house while the bathroom here is being remodeled......
I include the beginning of the next paragraph so I could say: Yes we are in the camper and the story of getting here will be told with pictures in tomorrows post.

The Anthologist was the only book I finished since last Monday. But as is my habit, I've read in several others.

Big fat paycheck : a young person's guide to writing for the movies by Colton Lawrence. I began this as Script Frenzy was starting the first week of April and am still plugging away at it.

The practice of writing by David Lodge. Was dipping into these essays more than reading straight through. Also checked out of library in honor of ScriptFrenzy as Lodge discusses adaptation of literature for the screen. Also the writing life and writing a a practice. To give an idea of what is discussed and why it might interest me here are the titles of parts and chapters:

pt. 1. Novelists, novels and "The novel": The novelist today: Still at the crossroads? -- Fact and fiction in the novel: an author's note -- The lives of Graham Greene -- Lucky Jim revisited -- Sex, creativity and biography: The young D.H. Lawrence -- Henry Green: a writer's writer's writer -- Joyce's choices -- The making of "Anthony Burgess" -- What kind of fiction did Nabokov write?: a practitioner's view -- Creative writing: Can it/should it be taught? -- The novel as communication -- pt. 2. Mixed media: Novel, screenplay, stage play: three ways of telling a story -- Adapting Nice work for television -- Adapting Martin Chuzzlewit -- Through the no entry sign: deconstruction and architecture -- Harold Pinter's Last to go: a structuralist analysis -- Playback: extracts from a Writer's diary.

Had to send it back to the library today but I'm sure I'll send for it again sometime. At least it doesn't have a huge queue.

Genesis of an American playwright by Horton Foote ; edited and with an introduction by Dr. Marion Castleberry. Everything I said about Lodge's book is true of this one too. Checked out for ScriptFrenzy. Had to go back today. Dipped in here and there rather than read from beginning. But I've seen enough to know I want to see more. Again the titles:

Genesis of a Playwright -- Seeing and Imagining -- Pasadena and Beyond -- Learning to Write -- On Being a Southern Writer -- Wharton, Then and Now -- What It Means to be a Southern Writer -- The Trip to Paradise -- The Artist as Mythmaker -- Things Have Ends and Beginnings -- Writing for the Stage -- Dance and Broadway (1944) -- Harrison, USA -- Sometimes the One-Act Play Says It All -- Advice to Young Playwrights -- Herbert Berghof -- The Orphans' Home Cycle Lecture -- How To and How Not To: Some Lessons Learned along the Way -- Introduction to The Young Man from Atlanta -- Writing for the Screen -- The Little Box -- On First Dramatizing Faulkner -- The McDermott Lecture -- Writing for Film -- Willa Cather -- Thoughts on the American Theatre -- The New York Theatre (1930-1940) -- The Changing of the Guard -- The Vanishing World and Renewals.

Payback : debt and the shadow side of wealth by Margaret Atwood. This is the one I've put the most effort in this week. I have been reading from the beginning and am trying hard to finish before sending it back to the library. It too was due today but i held it back, hoping to finish it by tomorrow. It's only 230 pages and I'm over halfway. This is an essay by one of my favorite novelists. A musing on the meaning that the concept of debt has for the human psyche as evidenced by cultural attitude, myth and legend and literature and drama. Again the chapter titles:

Ancient balances -- Debt and sin -- Debt as plot -- The shadow side -- Payback

The New Atlantis by Francis Bacon. Started this week before last when it was mentioned in Dan Brown's The Lost Symbol. I'd had no idea that Bacon had written a Utopian 'novel'. And was extra surprised to discover it was included in the Francis Bacon volume of my Great Books set. It is quite short and I read over half of it the first time I picked it up but have been taking small sips since then as library due dates loomed.

I have started the novel The Girl with Glass Feet by Ali Shaw but am less than five pages in so I don't know how much that counts for last week. It will be one of the books I'm most focused on this coming week.

Among the books I am likely to spend time with this week:

Big fat paycheck -- targeted to finish.

The value of nothing : how to reshape market society and redefine democracy / Raj Patel

Fast food nation : the dark side of the all-American meal / Eric Schlosser

Prophet's daughter : my life with Elizabeth Clare Prophet inside the Church Universal and Triumphant / Erin Prophet. This is part of my research on cults and out of mainstream religions for my FOS storyworld.

Thinking in Pictures: My Life with Autism by Temple Grandin.

Food, inc. : Mendel to Monsanto--the promises and perils of the biotech harvest / Peter Pringle

And if I finish The Girl with Glass Feet which is fairly short, the novel I'll pick up next is Dark places by Gillian Flynn. Read her Sharp Objects in January and was enthralled.

I'm hoping that participation in this meme will motivate me to get reviews posted in a more timely fashion. I have dozens in various stages of prep. most waiting until I send for the book again which in most cases I could do any time but in many I would have to wait weeks or months for another turn. It would help to not be starting such books the same week they are due.

Sigh.

So often of late I've been finishing a book a matter of hours before I have to hand it over to Ed to detour past the library on his way to work to get it in the drop box just in time to avoid the fine. No way to do a decent review under those circumstances.

2 tell me a story:

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